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Life after free movement: Making future immigration policy work for Wales

January 22nd 2019

In December, the UK Government published its proposals for the future immigration system post-Brexit. Today the Bevan Foundation discusses how to make this new immigration system work for Wales.

Immigration has dominated political and public debate both before and since the EU referendum in 2016. The vote to leave created an exceptional moment for the UK’s immigration policy: the end of freedom of movement for EU citizens means that a new immigration policy is required. To prepare the way, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its report on EEA migration in the UK in September 2018. Many of the MAC’s proposals have since been adopted by the UK Government in their recent Immigration White Paper.

The changes to EU immigration have significant implications for people and organisations in Wales, affecting not only the 80,000 or so EU nationals resident in Wales and 6,000 EU students but also affecting their families, communities and employers. To explore possible effects of a new immigration policy, the Bevan Foundation organised a symposium in October 2018. Stakeholders from different sectors across Wales including hospitality, business, the NHS, social care, higher education, asylum seeker and refugee organisations, local government, the Welsh Government and more participated in the discussion, alongside immigration policy experts from across the UK.

This paper highlights the key points made in the symposium in order to inform future debate about immigration policy in Wales. It firstly lays out current immigration policy in the UK, the MAC proposals and the UK Government’s proposed changes. Secondly, the paper focuses on the public’s views of immigration, drawing on research by British Future, paying particular attention to different areas of Wales. It then outlines arguments for and against regional variations in immigration policy focusing on economic, demographic and political positions. Lastly, the paper summarises the stakeholder discussion on the implications of a new immigration system for UK and non-UK citizen alike and policy options for the future.

Format: PDF

Language: English

Pages: 29

Cost: Free

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